Paul Wolmarans

is creating Music, Entertainment

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About Paul Wolmarans

Hey you!

I want to personally thank you for taking the time to check out my Patreon!

It is people like you that allow creators around the world to share their arts and knowledge with the rest of us, and I want to personally thank you for giving me the opportunity to do the same.

My Motivation:
Music is, and has always been, my means of expressing myself. It brings me great pleasure to be able to learn, make, and share my music with other people, and I hope to continue doing so over the years. 

Legit Autobiography:
My name is Paul Wolmarans 

I was born in Johannesburg, South Africa on June 14, 1995. My three older brothers and I are truly blessed in the sense that we grew up surrounded by parents who, even after 30-odd years of marriage, continue to love and challenge one another to become better versions of themselves every day. They instilled these qualities in me and my brothers.
My dad, a respected CEO, and my mom, a former computer analyst/programmer, paved their way to a happy and successful life together, and I would be lying if I said that we grew up anything short of "well off". After a recent encounter with the dangers of my own personal mental health, I've objectively been trying to make sense of how I ended up at this point.

Here is my take on things:

My parents found success, I believe, through finding the perfect balance between talent, work ethic, passion, luck, and humility. 

Growing up me and my brothers were constantly challenged to try our best at whatever we did. What may seem to contradict this, we were also challenged to accept failure -- to learn from it, to better ourselves, and to come back better and stronger the next time around.

We were taught that you don't always have full control of what happens to you in life and to make the most of the hand that is dealt to you without developing feelings of bitterness - take responsibility for yourself. 

In 2003 my brothers and I had just gotten done playing a game of rugby when my parents told us that we were moving to America. Besides my parents, none of us had ever been to this "land of opportunity". 

A part of us was sad that we were moving, but we stayed optimistic and hoped for a better tomorrow.

From my perspective of being an 8-year-old kid non-native English speaker, the change was nothing short of difficult. Luckily for me I had an incredible group of friends, family, and teachers who went out of their way to help me adjust to this new environment. I would not be here today if it weren't for their kindness and generosity.

Thanks to my limited vocabulary (not just in English) I grew up not being able to properly express my thoughts through words. Not wanting to constantly sound dumb, this forced me to internalize my thoughts.

I grew up around very smart and wise people, so regardless of whom I spoke to, I always believed that they knew more than I did. As a result of this I hardly ever respected my own opinions of how I viewed the world. Though I held my beliefs, I was always willing to listen to these people's beliefs that challenged my very own.

I think this has made me the proactive introvert that I am today.

Back to the story though; I soon found that the language barrier wasn't the only thing holding me back from fully assimilating into America; naturally there was also an initial cultural barrier as well.

Now I hate to "play victim" or come off as seeking sympathy, those aren't my intentions, but facing such big challenges at such an early age was difficult to say the least, and I feel that this experience helped shape me into the person that I am today.

I full-heartedly believe that something meaningful can be extrapolated out of your "opponent's" viewpoints and that they have every right to have their voice heard, just as you do. 

I can't pinpoint exactly when it happened, but when I found music my whole life changed. I had finally found a way to express myself without using my words. 

I remember playing on relatively cheap guitars that had been passed down from friends and family when I was as young as 7-years-old. The hand-me-down nylon string guitar which actually started it all for me is still sitting in my mom's closet back home, right next to my Xbox 360 Guitar Hero guitar lol.

** Quick tangent, I was inexplicably diagnosed with type 1 diabetes around my 12th birthday, we'll touch more on this in the "Diabetus" section. **

By the time I was 13 my parents had seen me develop enough of a passion and talent for music that they were willing to invest in my future as a musician. This is all fancy talk for they bought me a guitar for my 13th birthday. It was an Epiphone Les Paul Ultra II. Though it sat in storage for the majority of the past 10 years, I now play this guitar nearly every single day.

I can't remember the exact order in which things happened, but somewhere between the ages of 12-14 I decided to pick up guitar lessons. This would usually entail a teacher attempting to teach me basic music theory and structure, but I can honestly say that it didn't matter how hard they tried -- they were fighting a losing battle. I didn't care about any of that. I just wanted to make music.

The lessons eventually turned into me bringing my instructor(s) videos of things that I wanted to learn, them figuring out the TAB by watching/listening to the music videos, and then relaying that TAB to me. This worked wonders, for about a year or two. 

Coming from a very limited technical knowledge of music, the more I started to perceive trends and patterns in music, the more I wanted to challenge this perceived "structure," if you will.

In a lot of ways my parents are very old-fashioned and traditional, but in one way or another I convinced them that I wanted to stop taking lessons and learn music for myself, by ear. Around this same time I started to explore the limitations of other traditional instruments such as piano, drum, bass, etc. I knew that one day in the distant future I wanted to master them all.

This is still an ongoing journey that is made possible almost exclusively through such platforms as YouTube.

This is not a paid sponsorship, but to this day I believe YouTube is one of the greatest sources of information and knowledge the world has to offer -- it might just be hidden behind millions of hours of cute cat videos and weird niche communities which are outcast for being different.

I am not alone in thinking this. We are all growing up in a time where we have complete access to all the information in the world via the internet. The magnitude of this statement cannot be understated -- we have everything we could possibly ever want to help make this world a better place so long as people are willing to invest the time and effort into self-learning.

Focusing on my myself for a second, this allowed me to study all of the musicians who made a name for themselves doing what they loved to do -- creating music. Mix this with my incredibly diverse taste in music and my constant desire to learn, and you suddenly have influencers from vastly varying genres, all with their own idiosyncrasies that make them unique, inspiring me and showing me that I can ALWAYS be better. I think this has played a huge role in where I see myself as a musician.

My main goal is and will always be to make meaningful contributions to society in hopes of one day leaving this world in a better place than the day I was born.

Music is and always will be my primary way of truly expressing myself while I continue to pursue some of my other interests in life such as maths, sciences, etc. that ultimately tie back to my main goal.

Diabetus:
What changed? I'm still trying to figure this one out for myself. I personally feel that a better question to ask is "What is Changing?," because I feel like I don't know enough of what's going on in my life to confidently say that I am already out of "it". Based on my research I believe there is a certain element of PTSD which causes this to be an ongoing issue.
 
Growing up I always felt different. I always felt like there was something separating me from the people around me, but I could never figure out what it was. As it commonly happens when you don't address the root causes of your problems, things progressively got worse.

It wasn't until January of 2018, after struggling for over four years, when the lightbulb suddenly went on in my head.

In the summer between 5th grade and 6th grade I was inexplicably diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D). Prior to my diagnosis I was always an active, social, go-happy 12-year-old kid. Little did I know how quickly this would change.

To preface, it is important to first understand what we are talking about here:
"Diabetes Burnout - the term given to the state of disillusion, frustration and somewhat submission to the condition of diabetes. Burnout can be characterised by a person's complete disregard for their blood sugar levels. [. . .] Burnout is also often accompanied by psychological changes such as:
Diabetes is a disease which affects roughly 415 million people worldwide, where roughly 5-10 percent of these are type 1 diabetics. Little is known about the causes or cures for the disease, but one thing is undisputed: T1D is a fairly significant psychological burden.

Since twelve, I've known the following:
  • Life isn't fair.
  • If I screw up badly enough, I die. Even if I don't 'deserve it'.
  • Being healthy and successful requires willpower, motivation, and discipline.

Burnout did not fully affect me until I went off to college, living independently from my family who had previously helped me manage this otherwise life-threatening disease.

To emphasize this:

Senior year in high school I was virtually a straight-A student while taking 5/7 college courses and playing sports on the side. I was dedicated and knew what I wanted to do with my life (biomedical engineering), but I stayed humble and never took myself too seriously. I was a self-proclaimed class clown. I was a part of a senior dance group who used to dress up in Morphsuits and perform dance routines at pep rallies in front of thousands of other students. I used to host social events at my house, and even invited friends over to study at least 2-3 times a week. I used to post jokes on my Facebook wall, make jokes in class, and in general, I tried very hard to entertain other people and bring them the joy and happiness which I couldn't bring myself.

Junior year of college, 3 years later, I was locking myself in my room for days at a time. I was still interacting with others, but only at bare minimum levels of healthiness. I had learned to put on a mask every time I left my room and to pretend that everything was all fine and dandy when in reality it wasn't. When I'd return to my room later in the day I'd often just lay in my bed, in silence, and obsess over all the bad things in life and how unfair life truly is. This was extremely toxic and it eventually pushed me to extreme lows which are often difficult to discuss in public settings.
I was continuing to seek an education in Industrial Engineering (biomedical wasn't offered when I arrived as a freshman) which was rooted only in the fact that I didn't want to let go of the image of success I had ignorantly painted in my head when I was younger. "Engineers make money right? And money makes people happy right? Clearly I have to become an engineer so I can buy my own happiness once and for all."

This may sound silly but it was genuinely the thought process I went through, and I full-heartedly believed it to be true.

When I started to approach the end of my studies I began to realize just how in the wrong I was. While I was so focused on pursuing true happiness I had gone completely oblivious to the fact that I had taken 10 strides in the opposite direction.

It was not pretty, and I am certainly not proud of myself for allowing things to ever have reached such concerning lows.

That being said though, and I hope this doesn't come as a surprise given everything that I've said already, I tried to make the most of the situation. I dug long and hard trying to find the good things which were happening in my life which I had grown oblivious to, and I tried to formulate a learning experience out of the entire situation. 

I'm all about transparency and people's rights to form their own opinions, so I'm attaching the Facebook post I made shortly after I felt true happiness again.

To give a very brief backstory; I admittedly had just stopped taking the antidepressants the doctors had been prescribing me, against their knowledge, so I can honestly and objectively say that my thoughts and actions were not coherent or logical. What I was thinking, saying, and doing was not normal in any way, shape or form. But that doesn't necessarily mean there was no merit in the things I was saying, or that it was bad.

I digress:

January 7, 2018
I wrote this post the day after New Years. I decided to sit on it to see if I still wanted to share this intimate part of my life with the world, but I feel like a born-again virgin so fuck it we’ll do it live.

2017 was an incredibly reflective year for me. I wish I could say that I was proud of all my actions or that I was happy with the person I was becoming, but I can’t. I’ve always aspired to be a role model in life but recently my actions have not merited this. It’s time for me to change.

You see, I spent a good portion of the last three years neglecting my health, my relationships, my edumacation, and my music – all things that used to be of utmost importance to me.

Unbeknownst to me at the time, my life was slowly slipping out of my control and progressively getting worse. I pushed a lot of genuinely good people out of my life when what I really needed was the exact opposite.

It was in this time of solidarity that I found a deeper underlying issue. I’m sure many of my close friends from high school can recall me occasionally being quieter than usual and justifying my oddly distant behavior by saying something along the lines of “I’m feeling out of it”. Honestly I didn’t know what it was either.

Now that I’m older and understand my emotions better I can finally do something that I dreaded for many years: admit that I have been suffering from depression since high school.

If nothing else at least I can now unironically say that I peaked in high school hahaha.

Jokes aside though, I finally decided to seek professional help last semester after hitting my all-time low. I don’t know if it’s the medicine that just finally kicked in, or if it’s my awesome friends and family that showed me my old self again over the Christmas break – but either way, it’s like the switch flipped.

For the first time in a long time I can sincerely say that I am happy.

Admittedly I’m not one to like overly serious discussions, so only a few people were actually aware of what was happening, but to everybody who has helped me thru this journey, cognizant of the issue or not, thank you. I would not have been able to do it without you. Please know that you are deeply appreciated and loved.

Moral of the story: Everybody needs a little help from time to time so don’t sleep on it for three years like I did. We are all fighting the same battle so learn from my mistakes. I found that the best way to cope is to be completely open and honest with yourself.

There seems to be a social stigma associated with mental health issues, and I want to change that.
Hell if this post alone is the trigger for someone else to take action then I’ll go ahead and chalk up the past 3 years as a W.

Depression is scary. You are not alone.

To my college friends, expect to see a new and better me.
To my older friends, I’m back bitches :)

What's Next?
I'm now bouncing around the ideas of attending business school, law school, or medical school -- whichever will eventually get me back to one of my main goal of treating diabetes on a global scale. I want to work with people and find ways of incorporating my background in maths and sciences, my hobbies, my strong interpersonal skills, and my desire to bring value to other people's lives to one day reach this far-fetched dream.

I've come to notice that there is some form of connection between my mental state and more measurable things in my life such as my blood sugar, ability to create music, ability to think critically, ability to accurately convey what is on my mind, and ability to defend and reform my core values.

As soon as my mood started to improve, I saw very clear improvements in nearly every other aspect of my life -- improvements which other people have come to notice and question me about as well.

I have learned more about myself in the past 4 months than I have in the past 4 years combined.

Though I'm in a better place now than I have been for the past few years, the fact that my mood changed so suddenly and so drastically is still overwhelming and deeply concerning to me.

I don't merely view it as a good thing. I think it can potentially be very dangerous if I don't handle the situation with care. 

For this exact reason I want to challenge myself to recalibrate my goals in life. By using such platforms as Patreon and YouTube, I hope to one day be able to incorporate all the things which add daily value to my life and to find the perfect balance between my technical background in maths and sciences, my interpersonal skills, my desire to help others, and my passion for creating music and entertainment to help bring value to other people's lives.

If you find yourself still reading this, whether you agree or disagree with any of what I have to say, thank you for joining me in my journey through life.

Now let's get some work done :)

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